Special to OneWed by Robert Sicilliano of Intelius
With wedding season just around the corner, thousands of brides-to-be are busily preparing for what’s sure to be one of the most important – and most expensive – days of their lives.
The bridal industry is a multimillion dollar one, so it should come as no surprise that scammers recognize the potential to profit off of people willing to go to great lengths to make their wedding day memorable.
A couple of months ago in Boston, 6,000 people were scammed by con artists who set up a fake bridal show, swindling them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Brides-to-be shouldn’t have to worry about scams when planning their nuptials, but the reality is that popular scams, like advanced fee scams, are out there.
So what can people do to protect themselves when planning their special day?
Here are some important tips to avoid getting into a sticky situation:
1. Don’t be so trusting. Whenever possible, avoid paying hefty fees up front. Often scammers will pose as legitimate businesses and disappear on your wedding day.
2. Get references. Talk to friends, family and trusted sources about what wedding vendors and wedding planners they used and their experiences. Do your online research but don’t just read client testimonials, contact them directly so you won’t be in for any surprises.
3. Monitor your credit. Get a credit freeze and follow the steps for your particular state. This is a necessary tool to secure your credit and will help to prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.
4. Protect yourself. Online scammers on rogue sites can plant viruses on your PC. Invest in anti-virus and keep it auto-updated. This will help block spyware and viruses from bogus vendor sites that can search your computer for personal information.
5. Do your homework. Perform a Background Check (such as those offered by Intelius) on potential vendors, which offers public records information about criminal offenses, lawsuits, bankruptcies, liens, and other important information that may influence your vendor choice.
6. Read the fine print. Many people sign contracts with vendors without reading through them with a critical eye. Read everything and make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before making it legal.
7. Pay with a credit card. Disputing a transaction is easier with a credit card than with a check. Credit card companies will put the money back in your account quicker whereas banks may never refund money spent via a check.